THE PAGEANT OF INDIA by F. Yeats-Brown

THE PAGEANT OF INDIA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

We are taking this first, in spite of date sequence, because its substance belongs ahead of Miss Mitchell's India Without Fable, in giving the inquiring reader a background of India's long history as a basis for better understanding of India today. So let us take it from that angle first. F. Yeats-Brown, through his Lives of a Bengal Lancer and his Lancer at Large has shown, conclusively, his spiritual kinship with the people and soul of India. European Jungle struck an alien note, seeming to suggest a somewhat Fascist bias in the intensity of his anti-communism. Now -- in this -- he returns to India, his second country, and unfolds the pageant of its history, full of color, drama, personalities and livened with anecdote. Swift outlining of its earliest history, somewhat fuller detail of 235 years of the reigns of six Moghuls, indicating a tendency to disruption, anarchy, rather than unity under fairly able rule. Then comes the injection of Europe in India -- Portuguese, Dutch, French, English -- and the growing power of the East India Company. British India is seen made by capitalist conquest, and Yeats-Brown does not hesitate to indicate the black spots on the record, to show the mistakes made even by such able men as Clive and Warren Hastings. A generation of conquest, mutinies, civil war, and finally the establishment of British suzerainty. Good men and bad in control, and a growing sense of the importance of planning for ultimate self governmentk culminating in the Government of India Act in 1935 -- and the frustration by the deadlock of 1942. He then proceeds to analyze modern India, the contribution made by Britain, the strides in the Indianization of administration. He gives a picture of the conflicting elements, the 562 Indian States, the Indian army, officered by British officers, Gandhi and the Congress Party, and the successive mass civil disobedience demonstrations; the Moslem League and its repudiation of the Federation Plan, and the demand for independent status of the N W and N E zones. He shows the weaknesses of this plan, too, the inevitable new minority problems. And, finally, he outlines a four division plan, which he feels would give each element a fair place, with a Security Force under British control, in British military zones. It reads as a fair, dispassionate, objective view, revealing the terrific problems India presents, giving England due credit for what she has done, and accepting the inevitability of the failure of the Cripps' mission until such time as an answer to India's inner conflicts is found.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1942
Publisher: Macrae-Smith